Mitchells and Wufoo hug their customers with handwritten notes

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#770 in Project comes courtesy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, Thank You Economy.

Gary talks about Wufoo, the online HTML form developer sends handwritten thank you notes, sometimes crafted out of construction paper and decorated with stickers:

wufoo

#805. Taken from a tweet by Annette Franz @annettefranz



jack mitchell thank you

Annette cites 1to1 media’s post on Mitchells by Ginger Conlon:

When was the last time you personally thanked a customer? Sent a hand-written note? Last year Jack Mitchell wrote 1,793 personal notes to customers of his retail stores. That’s about five notes a day, every day.

Mitchell is CEO of The Mitchells Family of Stores, which owns several high-end retail stores, including Marsh, Mitchells, and Richards–and is author of Hug Your Customers. He spoke at the Conference Board Customer Experience Leadership Conference about connecting with customers on a more personal level.

Every touchpoint, every interaction, every detail–these are all opportunities to connect with customers in way that creates engagement and builds retention. “It can be something as simple as a smile,” Mitchell said. “It’s about making a human connection. Connections are ‘hugs.’ And hugs create loyalty.”

So do great people, he said. Great product is a given; personalized service is where you can really make a difference. So the company looks for people who are honest, positive, competent, and nice, and have a passion to listen, learn, and grow. The retailer retains and engages it employees by using them in catalogs and ads, and by providing them with the product and customer information they need to deliver outstanding service. Also, there’s no commission, which encourages collaboration. “It [all] helps to increase their commitment to customer service,” he said.

A technology backbone is the third leg of the customer experience stool. The company has tracked every purchase by SKU since 1989, and as a result, has a comprehensive database of customers’ product and channel preferences–and knows exactly who its top customers are, by spend. The company uses the information to create personalized mailings, send relevant event invitations (e.g., trunk shows), and the like.

This blended high-touch, high-tech approach helps keep customers right where Mitchell wants them–at center of the company’s universe–because customer centricity, he said, is profitable. In fact, 72 percent of the retailer’s merchandise is sold at full price. “Focus on what’s most important,” he said. “Customers.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Mitchells and Wufoo joined United Airlines in the Project for the use of ‘thank you’ notes. United’s Captain Patrick Fletcher hands out cards to all first and business class passengers to thank them for their patronage. It’s an old school move that never goes out of style. In fact, given the emergence of digital and reduction of print, a handwritten note has become a unique and special touch.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – How do you come up with a catchy name like WUFOO. Turns out one of the founders was a fan of two particular bands: Wu-Tang Clan and the Foo Fighters. Put them together and you have a catchy five letter URL that’s easy to remember. Here’s a little further background on Wufoo courtesy of Rackspace:

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?



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